I don’t even try and hide the snowdrop obsession anymore. Today it feels like all the plants and yardwork of the summer months are just a weak effort to cover up my addiction and to bide my time until cooler months return and snowdrop season kicks back in. As proof I will confess to driving two hours last weekend to meet up with a few equally crazed friends in the greenhouses of John Lonsdale’s Edgewood Gardens, for the sole purpose of seeing the autumn blooming snowdrops in full flower. Looking back it was an excellent choice.
Spring and even winter blooming snowdrops can go a long way in easing the pain of a brutal winter, but fall blooming snowdrops make an excellent opener to a slow to arrive season. Shorter days and colder nights may sap your enthusiasm, but to see a few optimistic sprouts and pristine flowers, the gardener is reminded that the natural world is already getting started on next year.
The highlight of this trip was to see in person a fall blooming snowdrop species which has only just been officially named and described by science. But gardeners rarely wait for things to be official and for years Galanthus bursanus has been making the rounds as a maybe species or maybe subspecies. Finally it’s official. This rare little gem from a small population outside the city of Bursa, Turkey is no longer an odd fall-blooming G. plicatus or unusual G. reginae-olgae, it’s a whole new species… one which to the joy of snowdrop lovers is easy to grow and stands out amongst all the others.
Of course hundreds of seedlings are already in the works, and since John Lonsdale has a way with these things many of the seedlings have reached blooming size and are now being grown on to see just how special the most special are . Hopefully in another year or two as all these seedlings hit the pipeline I can crack the wallet open for a couple offsets and give this one a try in my own garden!
In the meantime, out of thousands of of little pots, there were plenty of other things to admire and to talk about. Other autumn snowdrops were either at their peak or just starting to open, and the variety represented in all those seed grown plants is just amazing.
And then there were cyclamen. Maybe even more cyclamen than snowdrops. The cyclamen were either just coming off their peak bloom or just starting to put out their winter foliage. I again resisted bringing home more of the borderline hardy species, but the winter garden needed some new Cyclamen hederifolium and faced with such a wide range to choose from, my wallet left this visit with a noticeably thinner waistline.
I spent this morning repotting my new treasures. They didn’t need it, but I like to check out the roots and get them into the same soil that the rest of my cyclamen are in, if only so that all my pots dry out around the same time and all the plants are in the same boat… and can all sink or sail together.
Snowdrops in bloom, a visit with friends, and delicious new plants. I can’t complain, and I’m kind of excited for the upcoming winter garden season. The new cyclamen already have me down there on a daily basis, and I’m quite motivated and cleaning things up, organizing and re-arranging, and just plain old admiring the goodies.
It still doesn’t mean I’m hoping for a long winter though…